Northside Oktoberfest set for October 2nd plus Oktoberfest in a Box returns!

Downtown Iowa City has announced the return of Northside Oktoberfest! This years version will be broken up in to 3 elements:

  • Northside Oktoberfest in a Box (Friday, September 3rd, 10th, and 17th)
    • Thanks to the success of the 2020 Northside Oktoberfest in a Box, we have been asked to bring this feature back as part of the 2021 festival. The 2021 Northside Oktoberfest in a Box will once again be a take-home box including a variety of beers and your favorite treats from Northside businesses. Each box is built for 2 people to enjoy and can be customized when ordering.
  • Iowa City BrewFest (Saturday, October 2nd, 10:00 am – 2:00 pm)
    • After taking a break from the in-person festivities in 2020, the sampling event is back to celebrate in-person with a new twist. For 2021, Iowa City Brewfest sponsored by FLY CID will be more exclusive than ever, with ONLY 600 BrewMaster tickets available. That means fewer lines and more beer for you to enjoy!
  • Northside Oktoberfest Outdoor Bier Hall (Saturday, October 2nd, 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm)
    • *New for 2021, Northside Oktoberfest will host an outdoor Bier Hall on Linn Street for general admission. Attendees can purchase a $15 Bier Hall mug to refill with at Northside restaurants and bars. Grab a drink, sit outside, and enjoy the traditional Oktoberfest entertainment that will be happening from the afternoon through the evening.

Tickets go on sale Wednesday, May 5th @ 7:00 a.m. and you can order them by clicking here!

Here is what is included with each event listed above:

Northside Oktoberfest in a Box includes: 

  • 12 “Old World Classic” beers hand-selected by John’s Grocery & Iowa City’s “Bier Guy”, Doug Alberhasky
  • Take and bake Pagiliai’s Pizza of your choice
  • A featured kitchen item from Prairie Kitchen Store
  • (1) Bottle of wine from Brix Wine & Cheese Shop (choice of white or red)
  • $30 of gift cards to Northside businesses: $15 Gift Card for Dinner from a neighborhood restaurant & $15 Gift Card to a neighborhood shop
  • Northside Oktoberfest in a Box will be available for PICK-UP ONLY (Friday, September 3rd, 10th, and 17th)

Iowa City BrewFest ticket includes:

  • Exclusive access (only 600 available) to unlimited samplings from over 40 vendors from 10:00am – 2:00pm
  • Northside Oktoberfest 2021 chalice glass
  • $5 for lunch at Northside vendors
  • 25th Anniversary Iowa City BrewFest shirt (choice of Brewer Work Shirt button-up or classic t-shirt, designed and supplied by Jonnie 5 Apparel)
  • First beer free at the new* Northside Oktoberfest outdoor Bier Hall

Northside Oktoberfest Outdoor Bier Hall 

  • $15 Bier Hall Mug (available to purchase only the day-of)
  • 1 free drink with purchase (while supplies last)
  • Can purchase wine and beer at Northside businesses to take to the street and enjoy
  • Access to Oktoberfest entertainment

Big Grove “Starla” returns this weekend! Northside Oktoberfest in a box includes Big Grove/Adventurous Collab!


Some exciting news from Big Grove Brewery this week as they plan to release their hazy double ipa “Starla” in cans this weekend. Showcasing citra and Idaho 7 hops, the first release of “Starla” clocked in at 6.4%, not sure if the 2nd run will be the same or not. Along with “Starla” Big Grove has also released “All New Everything” double IPA in cans.

Big Adventure

A busy week for BG for sure and to top it off, their collab with Adventurous Brewing, “Big Adventure” hazy double IPA and “Northside” Helles Lager will be featured in Northside Oktoberfest in a box. So, if you got in on the Northside release you’re getting what are sure to be some tasty brews! The weekend approaches and cold beer will be welcomed! Support your local breweries, bars, and restaurants! Cheers!

Northside Helles

Big Grove Bringing the Big Guns to Northside Oktoberfest this Saturday September 30th

big groveBig Grove isn’t messing around folks. This weekend they are hauling their own BGB trailer to Northside Oktoberfest in downtown Iowa City and rolling out some amazing sounding brews to satisfy your thirsty livers. Not only are they rolling a trailer downtown but they are also having a cask rack and….AND….some sumbitchin’ growlers of Richard variants they are sharing. Jean Luc is a must try! Not messing around folks, don’t miss this. So, let’s take a look at each Big Grove station and what will be available.

ON Tap at the BGB Trailer
  1. Boomtown Premium-4.5% Simple ol’ Beer brewed as a traditional cream ale.
  2. West Main Wheat-5.2% American Wheat Ale
  3. Sidehill Sour-4.5% Berliner Weisse-style
  4. Double Blackberry Sidehill Sour-5% Berliner Weisse-style w/Blackberries & Boysenberries
  5. Arms Race-6.2% American Strong Pale Ale, Centennial, Chinook, & Citra
  6. BGB IPA-7% West Coast inspired IPA, Centennial, Chinook, & Simcoe
  7. Red Headed Stranger-6.8% Red IPA, Loral lupulin powder, Citra lupulin powder, & Mosaic
  8. Russian Imperial Stout-9% Imperial Stout
  9. War Rig-9.8% Hopocalypse Double Black IPA, Midnight Wheat & Cascade\
Cask Rack
  1. Thunderdome-8% Hopocalyse Double IPA, Mosaic lupulin powder, Citra lupuiln powder, El Dorado
  2. Arms Race-6.2% Double Dry-Hopped w/Citra then some more Citra.
  3. BGB IPA w/Amarillo-7%
  4. Sidehill Sour w/Blueberries & Lavender-4.5%
  5. Sidehill Sour Grapefruit Gose-4.8%
  6. Dirty Little Secret-9% American Strong Ale w/Raspberries & Cocoa Nibs
Growler Release
11:00am-2017 Richard the Whale
11:30am-2017 Richard the Whale Coffee
noon-2016 Barleywine
12:30pm-2017 Jean Luc Richard
Wow! Iowa beer lovers rejoice at this lineup! How the hell do you not smile looking at lineup? Cheers folks!

Pullman Bar and Diner Presents Stouts, Sours, and Oysters for post-Northside Oktoberfest Celebration

pullmanPullman Bar and Diner in downtown Iowa City will have a great selection of brews available for people who are stopping in after the Northside Oktoberfest celebration this coming weekend. Starting at 3 p.m. Pullman will be putting the following brews on tap:

Evil Twin Imperial Doughnut
Evil Twin Even More Jesus
Prairie Paradise
Surly Darkness 
Founders KBS
Clown Shoes Chocolate Sombrero
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Blueberry
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Lemon
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Passionfruit
Mikkeller Drinkin Berliner Raspberry 
That’s a bad ass looking lineup of brews and accompanying those beers will be Chef Emily’s oysters. A can’t miss event, if you’re in the area hit up Pullman this Saturday, September 30th. Cheers!

Big Grove Pulling out all the stops for Northside Oktoberfest! What will the Richard variant be?

big groveBig Grove brewery is bringing out the big guns for this weekend’s Northside Oktoberfest with the announcement that they will be pouring out of two tents, one of which is a cask tent that will have 12pins! Another question is, what will the Richard the Whale variant be? In talking with Chad Young, he sent me a pic (see below) of what he and Chef Benjamin Smart came up with for the variant. Here’s a list of the things that Big Grove will have for sure, along with many surprises! Hope to see you there on Saturday!


*Barleywine with Deri Kochoha from JBC roasters

*Russian Imperial Stout with Cinnamon & Vanilla beansbg3

*IPA with whole cone cascade
*Plan A Triple IPA with Wet Cascade & Columbus
*Arms Race with whole cone Citra & Wet cone centennial
*Harvest with whole cone Cascade
*Que Onda Roja with Concorde Grapes
*Quantum Finish with whole cone cascade
*IPA with Rosemary & Lavender
*ESB w/Apricot
*Que Onda Retacca with Cacao Nibs

Joe’s Place Hosting Northside Oktoberfest Post Party

joes.pngThe day of September 24th can’t get here soon enough! Another year of the annual Northside Oktoberfest is nearing and after my 1st time going last year, I’ve been eagerly waiting for this day! Like last year there will be a few after parties. Joe’s Place in Iowa City has announced they will be hosting one that will start right when the festival ends at 3 p.m. According to Iowa City Downtown District Facebook page here’s what’s going to be on tap at Joe’s:

Join all the Brewery Reps for a Celebration of Beer @ Joe’s Place

o Potosi – GOP bottles

o Boulevard – Tropical Pale draft

o Founders – PC PILS

o Peace Tree – John’s Sour Wit draft

o New Belgium – Fat Tire draft

o Oskar Blues – Dales Pale draft

o Lion Bridge – Octobot 3000 draft

o Schell – Octoberfest draft

o Lagunitas – Tuberfest draft

o Front Street – Cherry Bomb Blonde draft

o Sam Adams – Octoberfest Tallboys

o Blue Moon – Belgian Wit draft

Northside Oktoberfest set for Saturday September 24th!

northside octoberfestOfficial Press release:

Northside Oktoberfest

Sat, Sep 24 from 12pm – 3pm

The Northside Oktoberfest benefiting Iowa City area non-profits showcases the Bohemian nature of the Northside Marketplace with great craft beers, neighborhood food, beer games, Iowa football and much more! Join us on Saturday, September 24th, as we take over the streets of the Northside, just blocks north of downtown Iowa City. 

Early Bird Tickets NOW available! $55 for BrewMaster tickets & $40 for General Admission (see each price for details). Tickets will increase September 1, 2016.

  • Northside Oktoberfest will feature over 500 beers from over 50 breweries! Here are just a few: Big Grove Brewery, Millstream Brewing Company, Merchant du Vin -Specialty Beer Importer since 1978, New American Brewing Co, Bell’s Brewery, Inc., Cedar Ridge Distillery, Founders Brewing Co., August Schell Brewing Company, Central Waters Brewing Company, Confluence Brewing Company, 515 Brewing Company, Kalona Brewery, Buck Creek Companies, Peace Tree Brewing Company, Lakefront Brewery, Zipline Brewing Co., Boulder Beer Company, Sutliff Cider, Boulevard, Boone Valley Brewing, New American Brewing Co

New for 2016! As an added perk for 2016, your Oktoberfest ticket provides you with one complimentary ticket to the 2016 Telenet UCI Cyclo-Cross World Cup. These professional men’s and women’s cyclo-cross races will take place after Oktoberfest at the Johnson County Fairgrounds, at 3:30 and 5 p.m. The Telenet UCI World Cup races are a global addition to the already well recognized and attended annual Volkswagen Jingle Cross Cyclo-Cross races. Las Vegas, Nevada, and Iowa City, Iowa, are the only two North American locations for this popular UCI cyclo-cross series, and the races will be broadcast live by NBC Sports and internationally by Telenet to more than 35 countries.  Your complimentary admission (valued at $15) includes all-day access to this event, where food, a beverage garden and live entertainment will be available.

The City of Iowa City will provide complimentary parking garage access for the entire day! Complimentary shuttles to and from the fairgrounds will begin operating at 2 p.m. and run through 10 p.m.

Thank you our sponsors John’s Grocery and Little Village Magazine.

*Please note: This is a rain or shine event- No matter the weather the beer still gets poured! (There will be no ticket refunds) 


General Admission
General Admission tickets include: 12pm-3pm tasting time (full access to all samples available), custom tasting glass, UCI Cyclo Cross ticket, and free parking in Downtown ramps!
$43.47 with fees (print at home and mobile)
Buy Tickets
BrewMaster tickets get you entrance to the festival one hour early (11:00 a.m.), an upgraded tasting glass, and the ability to taste Real Ale samplings
$59.40 with fees (print at home and mobile)

Northside Oktoberfest: A Fall Spectacle

northside octoberfestShamed to say that this year was my first Northside Oktoberfest, but after yesterday, I can safely say that it won’t be my last. The folks at John’s Grocery, the City of Iowa City, all of the brewers and vendors really pulled out all the stops and made yesterday’s event one to remember.

I was lucky enough to get a Brewmaster’sphoto 1 ticket enabling me to take part in the “Real Ale” contest. The setup to get in was wonderfully done as lines were moving at a great pace and no one had to wait too long to get in. Once you get in, the Ale tasting began! 11 breweries were a part of this contest. After tasting each beer, the ticketholders were given a wooden token to put into the basket of whom they considered having the best real ale. Some excellent submissions in this contest as folks from Kalona, Big Grove, Tallgrass, Peace Tree, Confluence and more had beers for this contest. In the end, the winner with their double dry citra-hopped Arms Race Pale Ale was Big Grove Brewery in Solon!

photo 2After the real ale contest you then get to walk up and down the streets trying and tasting tons of beer, wine, soda, ciders, etc. I was very impressed with the amount of room given to this festival and to top it off, in the middle of the festival was a huge seating area, similar to a German Beer Hall, where there was a big screen showing the Iowa v. Wisconsin game! That really helped cap a beautiful Iowa day, as being able to sit, eat, and when you wanted a brew you simply got up and hit whatever tent was calling your name. Watching the Hawks beat Wisconsin was the cherry on the top.

I can’t comment much on the food as I prepared photo (2)myself for lunch at Brix Wine and Cheese Shop but it seems that most of the food that I saw looked delicious. Burgers, brats, pizza, steak sandwiches, it looked like a little bit of everything. Brix was tremendous. Some charcuterie and cheese to pair with Exile’s Raspberry Bohemian beer sure hit the spot.

photo 3So many great brews, so little time! Luckily I found a bunch that kept calling my name throughout the day. Call me a snob, put for a beer festival, I usually avoid hitting the lines where they are pouring out of cans or bottles, unless it’s something very rare to get. I usually stick with who brought some kegs in. The beers that really stood out to me were:

*Big Grove Brewery Que Sera w/ raspberries and honey. This was a blow away beer. The raspberry addition added that perfect amount of fresh fruit flavor and the honey added that sweetness to set off the tartness of this berliner weisse. I kept going back for this one and was very happy I got to try it!

*Lion Bridge Brewery Sorachi LIberace – a heavily hopped Saison using Sorachi Ace hops photo 4and once I had my nose in the glass I got a whiff of juicy fruit bubble gum and the same on the tongue followed by the dry grassiness that a saison gives. This will not be available at the brewery for another week I believe, so to be able to try it was a real treat. Another winner from the 2-time gold medalists at GABF.

*515 Brewing Reaper in the Rye – I could easily put their OJ IPA on here as well but
I’ve had that one before and wish I could have it whenever I wanted but I’ll go with their newer release. This heavily hopped cascadian dark/Black IPA was so good I had to go back for 2nds and then 3rds. The amarillo hops shine and pair nicely with the photo 5 (1)spiciness that the rye brings to the table. An excellent brew!

*Exile Raspberry Bohemian – I missed this at their tent but was informed it was on tap at Brix Wine and Cheese Shop. Luckily, I planned on getting a bite to eat at Brix so that confirmed my decision. A bit sour and tangy with the perfect amount of raspberry. This is a beer that I would love to keep stocked in my fridge. Refreshing and delicious!

*Peace Tree Sour Mash Saison – wasn’t sure what I would think of this one but I really enjoyed it. Very sour and tart but also refreshing and extremely drinkable. Between this and the No Coast citra-hopped Peace Tree really had a great day!

*Firetrucker Resuscitator Doppelbock – goes to show that almost every style of beer was well represented at this beer festival. Firetrucker showcasing a style that I usually don’t go out of my way for but after tasting theirs, I would be more than happy having this in my beer fridge arsenal on a constant basis. Excellent body, malty aroma, and the caramel and nuttiness on the flavor makes this the perfect beer for fall. Give me a slice of pumpkin pie to pair with this beer and I’m in heaven!

Lots of great bottled stuff like Goose Island Bourbon County, some great offerings from Founders, 30th Anniversary by Bells, Silva Stout from Green Flash, and quite a few things from Abu Nawas. A great event that I can’t recommend enough! Looking forward to next years already and I hope to see you there!

List of After Oktoberfest Parties for this Saturday 10/3/15

northside octoberfestA few after parties will be happening this Saturday once Oktoberfest draws to a close. A chance to try more beer and here are the places that will be hosting:

Founders and Stone @Sanctuary 5-10pm
405 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, IA 52240
Featuring: KBS, ReDankulous, All Day IPA, Dirty Bastard, Vertical Epic, Ruination 2.0, Delicious IPA, & Barrel Aged Arrogant Bastard

Oskar Blues @Joe’s Place 5-10pm
115 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, IA 52240
Featuring: $4 Pinner Pints & Barrel Aged G’Knight
Come hang out with the OB Brewery Rep

Boulevard @Mosley’s 5-10pm
525 S. Gilbert St, Iowa City, IA 52240
Featuring: Rye on Rye, Collaboration #5, Funky Pumpkin & Tank 7

Peace Tree @Donnelly’s Pub 5-10pm
110 E College St, Iowa City, IA 52240
Featuring: Blonde Fatale & Sour Mash

New Belgium @Blackstone 5-8pm
503 Westbury Dr #1, Iowa City, IA 52245
Featuring: Apple Oscar Ale & LaFolie
Meet the Brewer

Lagunitas @Gabes 8-10pm
330 E Washington St, Iowa City, IA 52240
Featuring: Lagunitas Daytime & IPA
8pm-10pm: The Jumbies on the patio & DJ Lagu inside

New Belgium @The Mill 8-12am
120 E Burlington St, Iowa City, IA 52240
Featuring: LaFolie & Peach Oscar Ale
Meet the Brewer

Reminder: Northside Oktoberfest Set for October 3rd, tickets still remain

northside octoberfest











The Northside Oktoberfest benefiting Iowa City area non-profits showcases the Bohemian nature of the Northside Marketplace with great craft beers, neighborhood food, beer games, Iowa football and much more! Join us on Saturday, October 3rd as we take over the streets of the Northside, just blocks north of downtown Iowa City to celebrate the 20th year of the Iowa City Brewfest! We will be featuring over 500 beers from around the block to around the world!

Tickets available here:

Ticket prices increase on Sept 1